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Tour of Gila director speaks out directly about Austin Killips’s win

Tour of Gila director speaks out directly about Austin Killips’s win

The Tour of Gila director has spoken publicly about Austin Killips’s win at the stage race in New Mexico. On Tuesday, former professional cyclist Michael Engleman gave an interview to The Telegraph about the recent women’s race, won by Killips. Killips, 27, is a transgender cyclist who transitioned in 2019. After the victory, social media was filled with vitriol for the rider.

Riding according to current rules

It should be noted that the Amy D. Foundation team member had done nothing wrong, as Killips is well within the rules. The UCI has announced that they will be reopening a discussion on the issue in August, but as of now, Killips is perfectably able to compete. With the win, Killips also became the first transwoman to win a UCI stage race. As well as the overall, Killips took the Queen of the Mountains and the final, decisive stage.

In the interview with The Telegraph, Engleman warned that the win could “kill the sport.”

Engleman riding at the 1994 World elite championships with teammate Marty Jemison, Photo: Sirotti

“I know how hard it is to get people to put money into a women’s team, at any level,” he said. “And now they’re asking, ‘Is this something I can touch? What if an athlete says the wrong thing? This is harming the sport. It’s a reality that somebody has to speak about.”

Threats to Tour of the Gila staff

Although most of the abuse on social media was directed to Killips, the former USPRO champion said he and his staff also received a fair share.

“The world changes when you get a message from somebody saying, ‘We hope you get shot in the face’, he said to The Telegraph. “I’m no hero here. There are lots of other people distressed and making threats to quit.”

Engleman said he was frustrated with the lack of involvement by the UCI. He also asked someone at his own federation, USA Cycling, to comment on the race. But they did not want to, because, according to him, “it was so sketchy to talk about.”

“They have fallen down on the job. I had somebody from one federation tell me, ‘Let it blow over for a week and then worry about it at the next race,’” he said.

UCI changes tune

After Killip’s win, the UCI initially defended the result. The UCI acknowledges that transgender athletes may wish to compete in accordance with their gender identity,” a spokesperson for the the international cycling body said in a statement that was sent to CNN.

“The UCI rules are based on the latest scientific…

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